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The Average Savings Account Balance in the U.S. — Facts & Statistics [2023 Data Study]

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Alex Miller
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Alex Miller

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Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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A savings account is necessary in 2023. In case of unexpected expenses and peace of mind, it’s nice to have a little money set aside. But many Americans struggle to save money every paycheck, and the thought of saving can be daunting. 

How you save and what you save every paycheck or every month depends on your personal financial situation. There is no one-size-fits-all savings plan, but we can all agree that saving what you can is important to set you up for what life might throw your way.

While inflation has slowed to 3.6% in 2023, down from 9.1% at its peak in June 2021,¹ it has still been a struggle for Americans to set aside savings every month. Monthly expenses such as food, gas, and rent have skyrocketed, leaving Americans spending more and seeing that impact at the end of the month.

Our article will walk you through the average savings account balance for Americans, savings by demographics, and much more.

5 Quick Statistics on Savings Accounts

  1. 71% of Americans say they have $5,000 or less in their savings account.²
  2. 41% of Americans say they have $500 or less in their savings account.²
  3. 54% of American adults have 3 months of emergency savings.³
  4. 49% of parents with children under the age of 18 have 3 months of emergency savings.³
  5. 13% of all adults said they could not pay a $400 unexpected expense.⁴

What Are Savings?

According to Investopedia, savings refers to the money a person has left over after subtracting their consumer spending from their disposable income over a period. Savings, therefore, represent a net surplus of funds for an individual or household after all expenses and obligations have been paid.

The Average Savings Account Balance in the U.S.

While you might look at your bank account and think you don’t have a lot saved, it might make you feel better to know you’re not alone. According to survey data from The Ascent, the mean (average) savings balance among Americans is $25,898. However, the median (middle value: more representative than an average) is $1,200

When you break down the data from the survey, the most common response to “How much money is in your savings account?” was $1 to $500. And 71% of Americans have $5,000 or less in savings, with 41% saying they have $500 or less.²

The data from the Ascent survey doesn’t vary much from the latest consumer finance survey from the Federal Reserve. The Survey of Consumer Finances says the average balance in checking, savings, and other “transaction accounts” in the U.S. was $41,600 in 2019. The median balance was $5,300.

Savings by Demographics

American Adults With 3 Months Savings 2023
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

In the Federal Reserve’s latest “Report on Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households,” 54% of adults have 3 months of emergency savings The 2023 report is based on 2022 data, the latest available.

When reviewing the data by education, race/ethnicity, and parental status, the percentages all stay in the 50% to 70% range. 

Based on the report, education-wise, 73% of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher have 3 months of emergency savings, while just 42% of adults with a high school degree or GED have the same savings.

By race/ethnicity, 67% of Asian American adults have 3 months of emergency savings, compared to 40% of Black American adults.

Fewer parents living with their own children under the age of 18 (49%) have up to 3 months of emergency savings, compared to 56% of all other adults.

Unexpected Expenses

Affording Unexpected Expenses 2022
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

According to the Federal Reserve’s “Report on Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households,” in May 2023, when faced with a hypothetical unexpected expense of $400, 13% of all adults said they would be unable to pay the expense by any means.⁴

Another survey by Bankrate found that only about 4 in 10 Americans have enough savings to cover an unplanned expense of $1,000, meaning more than half would need to find other means to pay for an unexpected car repair or emergency room visit.⁵

When survey takers were asked how they would pay for a $1,000 unexpected expense, 25% said they would charge it to a credit card and pay it back over time.⁵

How Much Should I Have in Savings?

So how much money should you have in savings? There’s no right or wrong answer here, as everyone has a different financial situation, but there are a few popular theories.

The one you have most likely heard is that you should have enough money in savings to cover 3 to 6 months of basic expenses, but exactly how much that is depends on your personal lifestyle. 

A great way to find out how much you should save every month is to sit down and figure out all your monthly bills and expenses. You should look at how much money you bring in every month after taxes and figure out how much you can put into a savings account after all your bills are paid. 

Traditional

Traditional savings accounts can be opened at your bank or credit union with a low minimum deposit. This type of savings account allows you to earn interest on your money, but not as much as you would with other forms of savings accounts. 

High-Yield

High-yield savings accounts are a great way to earn interest on your money. You can find high-yield accounts at online banks and credit unions. 

Money Market

Money market savings accounts are a great option for people who want to earn a higher interest rate than a traditional savings account but also want to have an option to access their money. Essentially, a money market account acts as a regular savings account but with the benefits of a checking account. You can open a money market account in person or online at a bank or credit union.

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

If you do not need access to the money in your account, a CD account could be a good option for you. This type of account allows you to deposit money and agree to leave it in the account for a period of time. During that time, your money will earn a competitive rate. The terms on CD accounts typically range from a month to as long as 60 months. Longer terms usually result in a higher rate.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re in the beginning stages of your savings journey or a seasoned saver, it’s always good to keep an eye on different ways to build on the money you have saved up, look into different accounts, and monitor the market. Continue to save what you can every month, and remember, no financial situation is the same, but it’s always helpful to have a little extra money for a rainy day


References

¹ ​Solberg, L. (2023, September 11). August CPI Forecast to Show More Good News on Inflation, Higher Gas Prices Aside. Morningstar. https://www.morningstar.com/markets/august-cpi-forecast-show-more-good-news-inflation-higher-gas-prices-aside.
² Caporal, J. (2023, August 18). Study: Median American’s Savings Account Balance Is $1,200. The Ascent. https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/research/average-savings-account-balance/
³ The Federal Reserve (2023, May 23). Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households. https://www.federalreserve.gov/consumerscommunities/sheddataviz/emergency-savings-table.html
The Federal Reserve (2023, May 23). Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households. https://www.federalreserve.gov/consumerscommunities/sheddataviz/unexpectedexpenses-table.html
⁵ Gailey, A. (2023, March 16). Most Americans don’t have enough emergency savings, despite the strong job market. Bankrate. https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/emergency-funds-in-strong-job-market/#americans-on-edge

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the average person have in savings?

The Survey of Consumer Finances says the average balance in checking, savings, and other “transaction accounts” in the U.S. was $41,600 in 2019 (the most recent survey conducted). The median balance was $5,300.

What is a savings account?

A savings account is an interest-bearing deposit account held at a bank or other financial institution. Though these accounts typically pay a modest interest rate, their safety and reliability make them a great option for parking cash you want available for short-term needs, according to Investopedia.

Should I have a savings account?

There is no harm in opening a savings account. Having a savings account gives you a safe place to keep your money and let it grow by earning interest over time.

What is an online savings account?

An online savings account is a savings account managed and funded primarily online. This account is not through a brick-and-mortar bank.

What is a good interest rate on a savings account?

According to the FDIC, the national average interest rate on savings accounts stands at 0.45% APY.

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About Alex Miller

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.

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